And the Oscar Goes To...

SPOTLIGHT – Real-life Boston Globe Editor, The Pinehills’ own Walter “Robby” Robinson Shares His Hollywood Experience

March 17, 2016     People in The Pinehills

Big congratulations to Walter Robinson, better known as “Robby” and played by Michael Keaton in the Academy Award winning film Spotlight. Robby makes his home at The Pinehills and we couldn’t be more proud to call him our neighbor. Catching up with Robby these days is not easy. He’s been on the road since September promoting the film and touring college campuses across the country. We were lucky enough to spend some time with him between speaking engagements to talk about the success of the film.

What a whirlwind it’s been for you. What’s life like for you now that you’re in the “spotlight?“

Well, I'm accustomed to asking questions for a living. So, it's been a big adjustment having to answer them instead. Since the movie was first screened in September, I, along with my Globe colleagues, have been on the road constantly, talking about the film, often to audiences just after they have seen it. Much of the time we are answering questions together with the actors who portray us in "Spotlight.'' It's been an eye-opening process. Of course, we worked very hard to uncover this abuse back in 2001 and 2002. But it's been amazing to witness the extraordinary effort that went into researching and then shooting the film, and to see how much time and effort the actors put into getting to know us - and getting into our heads - so they could portray us accurately.

Does seeing the success of this film reaffirm your belief that print journalism is important?

I think the film is an unsubtle reminder to everyone of how important it is for journalists to hold powerful institutions and individuals accountable, and to provide a voice for the voiceless in our society. Unfortunately, the Internet has stripped most traditional news organizations of much of their revenue. Newsrooms have been hollowed out, and most newspapers now do little or no investigative reporting. I hope the film helps create a public clamor for better journalism, and prompts editors to reconstitute investigative reporting teams. When "Spotlight" won the Best Picture Oscar, there was cheering in newsrooms where there hasn't been much to cheer about in the last decade.

Michael Keaton plays you in the film. You must have developed a bond -- do you think you'll remain in touch?
We did work closely together and have become great friends. We discovered that we have a lot in common: We’re close in age. Both of us were altar boys growing up. Michael even studied journalism for a while in college. I expect we'll remain friends.

So, how do you feel about all this attention?
It’s good to remember that I’m simply a victim of good fortune. I am blessed to live in a community, The Pinehills, that is overflowing with high achievers. There's no place quite like it. And everyone here has done something - or many things - that are quite extraordinary, but without public notice that would be richly deserved. My team's particular achievement, to say nothing of the film and the resulting spotlight, just happened to have played out in public. That’s really the only difference between me and my friends and neighbors.

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